This year’s Boston Marathon had a special meaning for a U.S. Marine.
Micah Herndon, of Tallmadge, Ohio, persevered through the pain of the grueling 26 miles and finished the race by crawling across the finish line on his hands and knees.
For him, the race was a tribute to fallen friends he knew when he served in Afghanistan. Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard and journalist Rupert Hamer did not make it home from Afghanistan alive, they were killed by a bomb while traveling in a convoy.
Herndon told the Record-Courier that he began running as a way to help him deal with his experience in Afghanistan. He repeats the names of his deceased friends when he competes in races.
“I run in honor of them,” Herndon said. “They are not here anymore. I am here, and I am able. I am lucky to still have all my limbs. I can still be active. I find fuel in the simple idea that I can run. Some cannot,” he told the Record-Courier.
“If I get a heat cramp while running or my feet hurt or I am getting exhausted, I just keep saying their names out loud to myself. They went through much worse, so I run for them and their families.”